Updated 03/18/2009 11:47 PM
Spokesman: Actress Natasha Richardson Has Died
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Actress Natasha Richardson, who was on life support after being critically injured in a ski accident, died Wednesday night at the age of 45
In a released statement, a family spokesman said, "Liam Neeson, his sons, and the entire family are shocked and devastated by the tragic death of their beloved Natasha. They are profoundly grateful for the support, love and prayers of everyone, and ask for privacy during this very difficult time."
Earlier in the day, New York City columnist Liz Smith reported that the Tony Award-winner was taken off life support at Lenox Hill Hospital on the Upper East Side just after 1:30 this afternoon.
Her family had been holding vigil at the location throughout the day.
The New York Post and Daily News both reported that Richardson, 45, was brain dead, having been flown to the city on life support after the severity of her head injury became clear on Tuesday.
The actress fell while skiing on a beginner run at Mont Tremblant in Quebec.
Resort managers say she was taking part in a private ski lesson. She was not wearing a helmet when she took a fall, but helmets are not required.
According to resort managers and witnesses, Richardson did not hit anything other than the snow and got up and poked fun at her clumsiness. But she later complained of a headache and soon after she was rushed to a nearby hospital.
"It wasn't a hard fall, but we checked everything and she seemed to be all right," said a resort spokeswoman. "She was talking. She didn't show any signs of confusion or any injury."
The news of Natasha Richardson's death was devastating to many in New York's Theatre District.
"It's sad. It's a tragedy. It's a big loss because I was looking forward to seeing her in many more shows over the years," said Gene Riley, a theater goer.
"She was a New Yorker. She never left New York. She was actually from England but she never left New York and she never went to Hollywood. So she's a New Yorker, a Broadway baby," said another theater goer.
Richardson's career began on Broadway. She won a Tony Award for her performance in "Cabaret."
She is also know for her roles in the films "Maid in Manhattan," "The Parent Trap," and "The Handmaid's Tale."
The British-born actress was the daughter of actress Vanessa Redgrave and the late, Oscar-winning director Tony Richardson.
Richardson leaves behind husband Liam Neeson, and two preteen sons.